Our alumni named among Sydney's most influential in 2012
6 December 2012
Twenty alumni have been recognised for contributions that are changing Sydney for the better in The Sydney Morning Herald's 2012 list of Sydney's most influential people.
At number two, Walkley Award-winning journalist and author David Marr (BA '68 LLB '91) was our highest ranked alumni, who announced his recent and unexpected retirement from the Herald on his 65th birthday.
The first female chief executive of the Sydney Opera House, Louise Herron (BA '86 LLB '82), was ranked 14 in the list, and spoke about the upcoming Opera House 40th birthday celebrations. "The 40th birthday will be a fantastic opportunity for people to express their affection for the building," she said of the event planned for 2013. Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini (SCM Amalgamation Alumni Affiliate) was also recognised for his productions this year, which were considered both critical and box-office successes.
Politicians Tony Abbott (BEc '79 LLB '81), Nick Greiner (BEc '68) and Anthony Albanese (BEc '85), were recognised as the 'movers and shakers' of the political and business scenes, while Peter Jensen's (MA '77) influence in the religious sphere earned him a spot at 37.
Rounding out the top 50 were this year's 'altruists' included Mike Baird (BA '89), Tom Bathurst (BA '69 LLB '72) and Clover Moore (BA '69), who were recognised for their focus on achieving for the greater public good.
Adam Jacobs (BA '07 BCom '07) held the 56/58 spot with business partner Cameron Votan, for filling the gap in the online fashion market with The Iconic, a website they founded last year. "We just want to make shopping online for fashion a dream," said Jacobs of the breakthrough venture. Sydney architect Rachel Neeson (BSc (Arch) '90 BArch '94) was hailed one of the list's 'champions', for carrying on the legacy of her late husband Nick Murcutt and their award-winning architectural firm Neeson Murcutt.
Our Science graduates were well-represented in the Science and Knowledge section, with Rob Purves (Non-degree Hon Fellow '07) recognised for being both an exceptional businessman and 'environmental champion' and Simon Chapman (PhD (Medicine) '86) from the School of Public Health for his fight for tobacco control. Deb Summerhayes (BA '85 DipEd '85) and Brian Owler (BSc (Med) '94 MBBS '97 PhD (Med) '04) were ranked 81 and 82 respectively, Summerhayes for her achievements as Principal of Cranebrook High School, and Owler as one of the youngest ever doctors elected as head of the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association.
Embryologist Sally Dunwoodie (BSc '86 PhD (Medicine) '93), ranked at 92, has produced ground-breaking research in the field of vertebral birth defects this year, and award-winning researcher Stuart White (PhD '89) shared the 94/95 spot with his colleague Dana Cordell at the Institute for Sustainable Futures for drawing attention to the importance of prosperous to food production and human life.
Hannah Dahlen (MCommNurse '94), as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's panellists described, is "probably the leading force in promoting natural birth and midwife-led care in Australia", and award-winning geneticist and executive director of the Garvan Institute John Mattick (BSc '72) was recognised for his contributions to human genetic and genomic research.
Read about more people from the University of Sydney community included in the list here.